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Office 2010 Turns 1 by Becoming 'Fastest Selling' Version

In marking the one-year anniversary of Office 2010's release, Microsoft on Wednesday called it "the fastest selling version of Office ever."

According to a post on the Microsoft Office Blog, businesses are currently adopting Office 2010 five times faster than they did Office 2007.

However, a recent Forrester survey of CIOs and IT executives indicates that Office 2007 and Office 2003 are still the dominant productivity suites among businesses. Forrester's "Q1 2011 Global Desktop Innovation Online Survey" showed that IT departments supported "Office 2003 and earlier" at 74 percent, "Office 2007" at 72 percent and "Office 2010" at 52 percent. The survey included responses from 150 decision-makers in North America and Europe.

Consumer adoption of Office is strong, with about "67 percent of U.S. online consumers" surveyed found to be using Office, according to Forrester, which reported that figure at the time of Office 2010's release.

Most of Microsoft's Office revenues come from business users. Microsoft said at the time of Office 2010's release that the company gets about 80 percent of its Office revenues from enterprise users and 20 percent from consumers.

Office is produced by the Microsoft Business Division (MBD) and represents the cash cow of that division. Here's how Microsoft describes it: "MBD offerings include the Microsoft Office system (comprising mainly Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync), which generates over 90% of MBD revenue, and Microsoft Dynamics business solutions."

Office 2010's appearance a year ago essentially marked the rollout of Office Web Apps, which are browser-based versions of Excel, Word, OneNote and PowerPoint for the PC. These Office Web Apps had been announced as far back as the 2008 Professional Developers Conference, but their full release got delayed. Office Web Apps represent an answer to alternative online productivity suites, such as Google Docs, which still represents a tiny threat to Microsoft, accounting for just 8 percent of IT deployments, according to Forrester's Q1 2011 survey.

Despite Microsoft's huge lead in the productivity suite market, Google Docs regularly gets panned by Microsoft's product managers and other employees. For instance, Google's lifecycle practices with Google Docs get critiqued here.

Microsoft's Office Web Apps come with a price for organizations, although they are free for use by consumers in conjunction with free storage via Windows Live SkyDrive. To use Office Web Apps, organizations need to have licensing in place for SharePoint 2010 or they can use the free SharePoint Foundation 2010, which requires Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft early on recommended that organizations deploy the 32-bit version of Office 2010, rather than the 64-bit version. The problem, noted over a year ago, was getting some of the add-ins, controls and Visual Basic for Applications programming code compatible with a 64-bit Office 2010. It's not clear if those limitations are still in effect.

Microsoft plans to release Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 sometime around the end of this month, according to an announcement made at this year's Tech-Ed conference. Possibly, the SP1 release will be close to the rollout of Office 365 on June 28.

Office 365 represents a consolidation of the various services currently offered as part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services offerings. The Office Professional Plus application that will be offered as part of the Office 365 service will be the one component installed on-premises, rather than accessed online, according to an analysis of Office 365 licensing by Directions on Microsoft.

Much of the credit for managing the early development of the Excel and Word components of Microsoft Office in the 1990s is attributed to Charles Simonyi, who currently chairs Intentional Software Corp. In Part 2 of a two-part Channel 9 video recounting Microsoft's history, Simonyi noted that Office represented a cultural shift at Microsoft because the company moved more toward producing software focused on what features users wanted, rather than the pure technical aspects.

Back in the 1990s, Microsoft stuck with the graphical user interface approach in Word, which was ahead of its time relative to the leading word-processing contender, WordPerfect, Simonyi noted. WordPerfect served market needs at that time with its keyboard-driven approach, but the GUI eventually won out, he explained in the Channel 9 video.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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